페이지 이미지
PDF

And when her face grows pule, and when her eyes grow dim,
And when he is tired of her and she is tired of him,
Bhe'll do what she ought to have done, and coolly count the
cost;

And then she'll see things clear, and know what she has lost.

And thoughts that are now asleep will wake up in her mind, And she will mourn and cry for what she has left behind; And maybe she'll sometimes long for me—for me—but no! I've blotted her out of my heart, and I will not have it so.

And yet in her girlish heart there was somethin' or other she had

That fastened a man to her, and wasn't entirely bad;
And she loved me a little, I think, although it didn't last;
But I mustn't think of these things -I've buried 'em in the
past.

I'll take my hard words back, nor make a bad matter worse;
She'll have trouble enough; she shall not have my curse;
But I'll live a life so square—and I well know that I can,—
That she always will sorry be that she went with that han'-
somer man.

Ah, here is her kitchen dress! it makes my poor eyes blur;
It seems when I look at that, as if 'twas holdin' her.
And here are her week-day shoes, and there is her week-
day hat,

And yonder's her weddin' gown: I wonder she didn't take that.

Twas only this mornin' she came and called me her " dearest dear,"

And said I was makin' for her a regular paradise here;

O God! if you want a man to sense the pains of hell, Before you pitch him in just keep him m heaven a spell!

Good-bye! I wish that death had severed us two apart. You've lost a worshiper here, you've crushed a lovin' heart, I'll worship no woman again; but I guess I'll learn to pray, And kneel as you used to kneel, before you run away.

And if I thought I could bring my words on Heaven to bear, And if I thought I had some little influence there,

1 would pray that I might be, if it only could be so, As happy and gay as I was a half an hour ago.

Jane (entering).

Wiry, John, what a litter here! you've thrown things all around!

Come, what's the matter now? and what have you lost or founds

[graphic]

And here's my father here, a waiting for supper, too;
I've been a riding with him—he's that " handsomer man
than you."

Ha! ha! Pa take a seat, while I put the kettle on,
And get things ready for tea, and kiss my dear old John.
Why, John, you look so strange! come, what has crossed
your track?

I was only a joking you know, I'm willing to take it back.
John (aside).

Well, now, if this ain't a joke, with rather a bitter cream!
It seems as if I'd woke from a mighty ticklish dream;
And I think she "smells a rat," for she smiles at me so queer.
I hope she don't; good gracious! I hope that they didn't
hear!

Twas one of her practical drives, she thought I'd understand!

Bui I'll never break sod again till I get the lay of the land! But one thing's settled with me—to appreciate heaven well, lis good for a man to have some fifteen minutes of hell.

Harper's Weekly.

THE MONSTER CANNON.—Victor Hugo.

They heard a noise unlike anything usually heard. The cry and the noise came from inside the vessel.

One of the carronades of the battery, a twenty-four pounder, had become detached.

This, perhaps, is the most formidable of ocean events. Nothing more terrible can happen to a war vessel, at sea and under full sail.

A cannon which breaks its moorings becomes suddenly some indescribable, supernatural beast. It is a machine which transforms itself into a monster. This mass runs on its wheels, like billiard-balls, inclines with the rolling, plunges with the pitching, goes, comes,stops, seems to meditate, resumes its course, shoots from one end of tne ship to the other like an arrow, whirls, steals away, evades, prances, strikes, breaks, kills, exterminates. It is a ram which capriciously assails a wall. Add this—the ram is of iron, the wall is of wood. This furious bulk has the leaps of the panther, the weight of the elephant, the agility of the mouse, the pertinacity of the axe, the unexpectedness of the surge, the rapidity of lightning, the silence of the sepulchre. It weighs ten thousand pounds, and it rebounds like a child's ball. Its whirlings are suddenly cut at right angles. What is to be done? How shall an end be put to this? A tempest ceases, a cyclone passes, a wind goes down, a broken mast is replaced, a leak is stopped, a fire put out; but what shall be done with this enormous brute of bronze? How try to secure it? You can reason with a bull-dog, astonish a bull, fascinate a boa, frighten a tiger, soften a lion; no resource with such a monster as a loose cannon. You cannot kill it: it is dead; and at the same time it lives with a sinister life which comes from the infinite. It is moved by the ship, which is moved by the sea, which is moved by the wind. This exterminator is a plaything. The horrible cannon struggles, advances, retreats, strikes to the right, strikes to the left, flees, passes, disconcerts expectation, grinds obstacles, crushes men like flies.

[graphic]

The carronade, hurled by the pitching, made havoc in the group of men, crushing four at the first blow; then receding and brought back by the rolling, it cut a fifth unfortunate man in two, and dashed against the larboard side a piece of the battery which it dismounted. Thence came the cry of distress which had been heard. All the men rushed towards the ladder. The battery was emptied in a twinkling of an eye.

The captain and lieutenant, although both intrepid men, had halted at the head of the ladder, and, dumb, pale, hesitating, looked down into the lower dock. Some one pushed them to one side with his elbow and descended.

It was an old man, a passenger.

Once at the foot of the ladder, he stood still.

Hither and thither along the lower deck came the cannon. One might have thought it the living chariot of the Apocalypse.

The four wheels passed and repassed over the dead men, cutting, carving, and slashing them, and of the five corpses made twenty fragments which rolled across the battery; the lifeless heads seemed to cry out; streams of blood wreathed on the floor following the rolling of the ship. The ceiling, damaged in several places, commenced to open a little. All the vessel was filled with a monstrous noise.

[graphic]

The captain promptly regained his presence of mind, and caused to be thrown into the lower deck all that could allay and fetter the unbridled course of the cannon,—mattresses, hammocks, spare sails, rolls of cordage, bags of equipments, and bales of counterfeit assignats, of which the corvette had a full cargo.

But of what avail these rags? Nobody daring to go down and place them properly, in a few minutes they were lint.

There was just sea enough to make t he accident as complete as possible. A tempest would have been desirable; it might have thrown the cannon upside down, and, once the four wheels were in the air, it could have been mastered. As it was, the havoc increased. There were chafings and even fractures in the masts, which, jointed into the frame - of the keel, go through the floors of vessels and are like great round pillars. Under the convulsive blows of the cannon, the foremast had cracked, the mainmast itself was cut. The battery was disjointed. Ten pieces out of the thirty were hors tie cornbnt; the breaches in the sides multiplied, and the corvette commenced to take in water.

The old passenger who had gone down to the lower deck seemed a man of stone at the bottom of the ladder. He cast a severe look on the devastation. He did not stir. It seemed impossible to take a step in the battery.

They must perish, or cut short the disaster; something must be done, but what?

What a combatant that earronade was!

That frightful maniac must be stopped.

That lightning must be averted.

That thunder-bolt must be conquered.

The captain said to the lieutenant:

"Do you believe in God, Chevalier?"

"Yes. No. Sometimes."

"In the tempest?"

[graphic]

"Yes. And in moments like these." "In reality God only can rid us of this trouble." All were hushed, leaving the cannon to do its horrible work.

Outside, the billows beating the vessel answered the blows of the cannon. It was like two hammers alternating.

All of a sudden, in that kind of unapproachable circuit wherein the escaped cannon bounded, a man appeared, with an iron bar in his hand. It was the author of the catastrophe, the chief gunner, guilty of negligence and the cause of the accident, the master of the carronade. Having done the harm, he wished to repair it. He had grasped a handspike in one hand, some gun-tackle with a slip-knot in the other, and jumped upon the lower deck.

Then a wild exploit commenced; a Titanic spectacle; the combat of the gun with the gunner; the battle of matter and intelligence; the duel of the animate and the inanimate.

The man had posted himself in a corner, and with his bar and rope in his two fists, leaning against one of the riders, standing firmly on his legs which seemed like two pillars of steel, livid, calm, tragic, as though rooted to the floor, he waited.

He was waiting for the cannon to pass near him.

The gunner knew his piece, and it seemed to him that it must know him. He had lived for some time with it. How many times he had thrust his hand into its jaws! It was his tamed monster. He commenced talking to it as he would to his dog.

"Come," said he. He loved it, maybe.

He seemed to wish that it would come towards him.

But to come towards him would be to come upon him. And then he was lost. How avoid the crush? That was the question. All looked upon the scene, terrified.

Not a breast breathed freely, except, perhaps, that of the old man who alone was on the lower deck with the two combatants, a sinister witness.

He might himself r,e crushed by the piece. He stirred not.

Under them the blinded sea directed the combat.

At the moment when, accepting this dreadful hand-tohand encounter, the gunner challenged the oannon,a ch&nce

[graphic]
« 이전계속 »